Voter ID: The American Anti-Democracy Movement’s Weapon Of Choice

Whatever the claims, voter fraud is almost non-existent. The real problem is the regressive forces promoting discriminatory laws.

Anti-democracy forces in the US are relentless.

Each time our nation takes a step forward, sure enough, a collective of well-financed anti-democracy naysayers comes along to shoot holes in the social and political progress of this country. Never mind that voting is a fundamental right guaranteed by the US constitution. Never mind that people have been killed, through decades and centuries, so that ordinary working Americans, including blacks and other people of color, women, and 18 year-olds could have this basic human and civil right. Never mind that the 15th amendment to the constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were added as extra layers of protection to insure democracy for all.

Anti-democracy forces could care less. For they are thumbing their noses at this history, at human and civil rights, and instead, are promoting for all they’re worth the “voter ID law” movement, which has been in play the past few years but is now amplified in 2012 because of the presidential election. This means there are now eight American states with voter photo ID laws. These laws vary from state to state in terms of what is “identification”. Some require an ID card with an expiration date. Others mandate that an ID be only state-issued and for the state where that person is voting. Still others demand a full name and address on the ID card. While others specifically prohibit even valid college IDs as proof of identity.

Given these new sets of rules, and the very real possibility that more of America’s 50 states will adopt similar measures, despite the movement’s legal setback in Wisconsin this week, it is little wonder that the Brennan Center for Justice recently reported that as many as 5 million eligible voters could have difficulty casting ballots, come Tuesday 6 November, election day in America, including an estimated 800,000 in Texas alone.

And the most vulnerable to voter ID laws? Poor people of all races, and people of color, who’ve historically had to do battle with laws preventing them from voting, as well as senior citizens and college students. Then, there are groups like newly-married couples, or newly-divorced ones, the transgendered community, Native Americans, American citizens with immigrant family members, and those who may have recently lost their homes due to the foreclosure crisis.

What this translates into are additional costs per voter to secure new IDs, or birth or marriage certificates, or transportation fees to get to hours-long lines, and away from work and other gainful activity. Many will simply shrug their shoulders and not bother to vote. And this, I feel, is the ultimate goal of the voter ID movement.

Read the whole story: theguardian